Housing the Rich (Or: Corporate Shelters)


Image: The Salvation Army’s Collaroy Centre at Collaroy Beach, Sydney

One of the aspects of the Salvation Army Boys’ Homes the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse will be looking into at its up-coming hearings, beginning 28th January, will be the standard of the accommodation for the boys.

The Salvation Army gains a lot of support from its programs to provide accommodation, with government money supplements, for the aged, disabled, homeless and those with drug and alcohol problems. This accommodation can, at best, be described as “modest”.

As indicated in yesterday’s posting, the Salvation Army is non-discriminatory in its programs to feed people. It not only feeds the poor at soup kitchens, it also feeds the rich through its Freedom Catering Group.

When it comes to accommodation, it also adopts a non-discriminatory policy, accommodating the rich at its “Collaroy Center” located a five-minute walk from the famed Collaroy Beach, only 30 minutes north of the Sydney central business district. It is mostly used for corporate retreats and seminars.

It boasts of “stunning views of Long Reef and the headlands”. It proudly announces that “With 30 recently refurbished ocean view hotel rooms; The Collaroy Centre will give you the perfect balance of resort living and high end accommodation services.” These units are for the smaller conference market.

All rooms come standard with;

  • LCD/ DVD
  • Coffee & Tea Facilities
  • Air Conditioning
  • Outdoor Balcony
  • Ensuite

For the larger types of conference it offers: “We can service almost all types of conference; all our lecture theatres and meetings rooms are equipped with state of the art audio visual facilities.” For example, the three seminar rooms have ocean views. The other rooms are given in the “see more here section” below.

For these larger conferences, 380 people can be accommodated in deluxe cabins. Here’s how they are described: “A combination of 6 person and 8 person cabin rooms with 2 deluxe suites in each cabin. By bringing back the charm of the old school camp days with the addition of ensuites in each room and common rooms for each cabin, we provide a classic blend of modern offering with nostalgia.”

The Collaroy center is so popular, that the Salvation Army holds some of its own conferences there. Here is one of the testimonials advertised on its web-site. “I want to pass on my heartfelt thanks to The Collaroy Centre team for everything they did for the Freedom Celebration weekend. The Thursday evening meal for leadership was 6 star – excellent food and service by the staff.” – “Commissioner” James Condon, the Salvation Army, 10th September, 2013.

Since it is owned by the Freedom Catering Group which the Salvation Army fully owns, the catering at the Collaroy Center is 6- star as the good “commissioner” notes.

Again, as seen in the photos below, the Collaroy center offers many activities to fill in the time between meetings, meals and sleeping. The Collaroy Center advertises the following on-site facilities: Basketball Court, Tennis Court, Oval, Volleyball Court, Bushwalk, Abseiling Tower, Archery, BMX Track, Climbing Wall, Dual Flying Fox, Environmental Games, High Ropes Course, Laser Tag, 2 Leaps of Faith, Low Ropes Course, Orienteering, Swing by Choice, 2 Team Building Courses, Vertical Challenge, Canoeing, and Coastal Ecology Study.

The Salvation Army also announces that “The Collaroy Centre is proud to present its newest addition to our exceptional activity repertoire here onsite….The Ultimate 3D Movie Experience. This truly breathtaking movie environment will wrap you in digital surround sound, rich in clarity and definition. With crystal clear graphics and vibrant pictures so real you can feel them, we are pleased to offer you our cinema experience with Blu-Ray quality and popcorn on request.”

It even advertises “Head on down to the Collaroy Centre for a unique outdoor cinema event experience on Sydney’s Northern Beaches!” as an addition to its indoor 3D cinema.

The Salvation Army operates at least one other such facility. It boasts that the “Café Essay & Conference is the perfect place to hold your next event, with purpose built Function Rooms.  Café Essay & Conference can host corporate retreats, training days to birthdays and luncheons, all within a stones through (sic) of Wollongong’s scenic South Beach.”

“Accessibility to the building is client friendly with 80 car spaces available within the facility, as well as lift access from both internally and off the street.  With a fully functioning Café and Functions kitchen on-site, and trading Monday through Friday, there are also many catering operations available.”

As the average time-constrained corporate retreat function organizer would say, “Thank God for the Salvos.”

[Postscript: The Chief Commissioner of the Royal Commission, Peter McClellan, continues to refuse permission for the author to give evidence, or present a submission, at the up-coming hearings on the Salvation Army’s Indooroopilly Boys’ Home (“Alkira”) where the author once lived. The Salvation Army has been given such permission.]

Read more here:

See more here:

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Image: The Collaroy center main entrance

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Image: Typical beach-view Collaroy Center motel room- one of 30

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Image: Collaroy Center Deluxe cabin room

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Image: View from the Collaroy center

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Image: One of three Collaroy Center seminar rooms with an ocean view

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Image: 400 person Collaroy Center conference room

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Image: Advertisement for Christian groups

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Image: Recreational activity at the Collaroy Centre

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Image: Collaroy Center recreation group

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Image: More recreational activity at the Center

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Image: More recreational activity at the Collaroy Center

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Image: Recreation at the Collaroy Center

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(Image: The Drop Pole at the Collaroy Center is a 13 metre decent controlled by a Power Fan. That first step off into the air is an exhilarating feeling then the decent to the ground in 3 seconds is a combination that will give you a new experience to enjoy!

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Image: Advertisement for the outdoor cinema at the Collaroy Center

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Image: Advertisement for “men-only” retreats at the Collaroy Center

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Image: Then, of course, there is the 6-star catering by Freedom Catering Group


Image: Salvation Army homeless shelter (Image source : MPR Photo/Cara Hetland))

TOMORROW: Some more Salvation Army Children’s Homes

That’s all I can say

Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)


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